UEFA has rejected Munich’s mayor’s request to illuminate the city’s stadium in rainbow colors for Wednesday’s Euro 2020 match between Germany and Hungary.
Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter had said he wanted to illuminate the stadium with those colors in protest of a new law in Hungary that prohibits the dissemination of content in schools that is considered to promote homosexuality and gender change, also restricting to the media the display of content related to homosexuality in programming accessible to minors.
The stadium, known as Allianz Arena, home to Bayern Munich, is set up to allow the entire outside area and roof to be illuminated in various colors.
In a statement, UEFA suggested alternative dates for the gesture during the tournament.
“UEFA, through its statutes, is a politically and religiously neutral organization. Given the political context of this specific request – a message aimed at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament – UEFA must reject this request,” said the organization in a statement Tuesday.
“However, UEFA has proposed to the city of Munich to illuminate the stadium in rainbow colors either on June 28 – Christopher Street Liberation Day – or between July 3 and 9, which it’s Christopher Street Day week in Munich.”
The Christopher Street Day events are held in remembrance of an uprising by LGBT people against police raids in New York in 1969.
The German Football Association (DFB) had said on Monday that it would also prefer that any protest or gesture be held on a date other than Wednesday.
German Minister for European Affairs Michael Roth told reporters ahead of a meeting with his EU counterparts in Luxembourg on Tuesday that the new Hungarian law clearly violates the values of the European Union.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Monday that “mixing politics and sport” is “harmful and dangerous” and welcomed UEFA’s decision.
“Thank God that common sense still prevails in European football leadership circles and they have not played the game of political provocation,” he said.
“I think, no, I can say that the UEFA leaders made the right decision when they decided not to play the game of political provocation against Hungary,” he added.
UEFA said it is involved in a series of campaigns around diversity and inclusion “to promote the spirit that football should be open to everyone.”
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